Bay Area police may now have one more tool to fight crime — anonymous informants.
Safety officials Monday announced the launch of an annonymous tip line that offers rewards of up to $2,000 to anyone who calls (800) 222-TIPS and gives information that leads to an indictment.
Police Chief Heather Fong, who was one of 30 local law enforcement officials at a news conference Monday for the launch of Bay Area Crimestoppers, said the service will be a welcome addition for the SFPD.
“I think callers are real reluctant to provide information because of the fear of reprisal,” Fong said. “Any service that is going to prompt more people to call is something that will clearly help us.”
American callers using the Crime Stoppers’ service are directed to an information center in Toronto, Canada — chosen because its international location offers subpoena protection for anonymous informers — which then reroutes information to the law enforcement jurisdiction where the reported crime was committed. Bay Area Crime Stoppers President Anthony Fasanella stressed that witnesses reporting live criminal acts should call 911.
The reward money given to informants is provided by tax-deducted donations from private corporations, said Jim Wunderman, president of the Bay Area Council, a business-based regional group that helped organize the creation of the Bay Area Crime Stoppers. Depending on the crime, anonymous tipsters can receive anywhere from $500 to $2,000, Fasanella said.